It amazing how many strangers arrive in Africa and return as friends.
None so more than a bunch of guys who joined us during 2011 on their first hunt with John X Safaris – Paul Latchford, Dave Kjelstrup, Alex Good, and Bill Satterfield.
Having enjoyed a fun-filled trip during 2011, the group decided to return again in 2012. For one reason or another, and a few schedule clashes, only Bill and Dave could make it. While our party was not the full contingent, we never the less pressed on with plans.
Dave would once again do the majority of the hunting….
While Bill packed the essentials of a safari observer.
That first morning saw us heading north. On Dave’s previous safari he’d hunted a large variety of species, mostly some of the more common ones. This time round we’d have to plan our trip well, ensuring we’re in the right areas at the right time, maximizing each area to its full potential.
One of Dave’s priorities was a Springbuck slam, consisting of Common, Black, White, and Copper Springbuck.
Where else better to start than with Niel in the Great Karoo.
Dave had hunted a Common Springbuck on his previous trip, but a Kalahari ram like this was too good to pass up.
Next it was the Copper, then this magnificent Black Springbuck.
Day three saw us rising to bright sunny skies, a relief considering the weather warning we’d received the previous evening. It would turn out to be one of the best days of the season. After learning that Bill would be back again during 2012, we decided to surprise him with a day of Grey Wing over English Pointer.
We contacted a friend of ours, Tim Van Heerden, and asked this master and his pointers to spoil Bill like never before.
They climbed the Sneeuberg range to 6000 feet and let the magic of well trained pointers combined with wild birds in open country captivate their day of upland shooting.
Bill thoroughly enjoyed it…
Coming away with a fine bag at the end of the day.
Dave, together with Carl and Niel, had set off after Lechwe. The idea was to concentrate on these swamp dwellers for the most part of the day, only switching over in the pursuit of Vaal Rhebuck if time allowed.
Oh boy, did we get lucky with this beauty! Dave was after a good Lechwe, we reckon he got a lot more than what he had bargained for. Magnificent!
Having secured our Lechwe by midday, we set off into the mountains. To be quite honest, neither Niel nor I had any hope of finding a Vaal Rhebuck in a single afternoon, let alone a ram of trophy quality which could be found fairly close to a mountain track. Dave knew he’d be limited in movement with an upcoming knee replacement, but was determined to give it a crack. A lot can be said of those who make their own luck through perseverance.
We decided to try an area where Niel had seen Vaal Rhebuck in the past, but we had never hunted before. Cresting the very first hill we spotted a group of Mountain Reedbuck, sheltering from the growing wind. Then suddenly there they were – 6 Vaal Rhebuck.
As per usual they’d spotted us first and were making a hasty retreat over the nearest ledge. Unbeknown to us they’d just made a fatal error. We followed as fast as Dave could. Nearing the ledge we soon realized what had happened. The animals had scaled an extremely steep gorge and had come to a halt on the furthest slope opposite our position.
Dave settled onto the sticks and made sure of his shot. The ram disappeared out of sight and the rest is history.
We took our pictures and loaded our prized 8’’ Vaal Rhebuck. By the way the shadows were stretching and the cool breeze settling, we knew it was time to call it a day. Nightfall would soon be upon us.
We opted for the scenic route out while making our way back to camp that afternoon. If only we knew what else our day had in store for us…..
To be continued….
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